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Custom program developed for Health Science leaders

Health Sciences Leadership Series

A program designed to improve the leadership capabilities and communication skills of Health Sciences faculty members.

Visit the Faculty of Health Sciences website to register.

By Mark Kerr, Senior Communications Officer

Health Sciences faculty members spend years training for their roles as educators, researchers and scholars. In many cases, though, there aren'™t the same opportunities to develop specific skills required for their administrative and managerial duties.

The Office of Faculty Development in the Faculty of Health Sciences aims to change that by collaborating with the Human Resources Department on a new management development program. The Health Sciences Leadership Series will launch this September with the first cohort of 30 participants completing six full-day sessions throughout 2014-15.

"This program is modelled after one that myself and a number of other faculty had the opportunity to take several years ago," says Tony Sanfilippo, Associate Dean, Undergraduate Education, Faculty of Health Sciences. "In retrospect, the content has proven to be highly relevant and practical. The Health Sciences Leadership Series will be invaluable to any faculty members charged with administrative responsibilities or curricular development."

Human Resources designed the program specifically for Health Sciences faculty members. The material will cover challenges, situations and conflicts they will encounter in their day-to-day work. Dr. Sanfilippo says participants will gain a deeper understanding of their leadership capabilities, expand their communication skills, enhance their project management skills, and improve their ability to build relationships both within and outside their department.

The Health Sciences Leadership Series will be invaluable to any faculty members charged with administrative responsibilities or curricular development.

Tony Sanfilippo, Associate Dean, Faculty of Health Sciences.

With the Health Sciences Leadership Series, Queen's Human Resources Department continues to expand its leadership development programming. The department has offered a similar program for non-academic managers since 2009.

"œWe are excited to partner with the Faculty of Health Sciences to extend this valuable leadership training to their faculty members," says Al Orth, Associate Vice-Principal, Human Resources. "We are hopeful that the positive outcomes of this series will result in opportunities to work with other faculties on similar programs in the future."

The series has the added benefit of meeting the accreditation criteria for two professional organizations. It is an accredited group learning activity for the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. The program also meets the accreditation criteria of the College of Family Physicians of Canada.

Online registration is now open with the first session slated to take place Sept. 16. More information is available on the Faculty of Health Sciences website or by contacting Shannon Hill, Learning Development Specialist, Human Resources, at ext. 74175.

Crisis reflections from the front lines

Advice on how to cope in crisis situations from a family physician and former medical officer in the Canadian Armed Forces

Brent Wolfrom is a family physician and Postgraduate Program Director in the Department of Family Medicine at Queen’s University. Prior to joining Queen’s, he was previously a full-time Medical Officer with the Canadian Armed Forces and served in the South Pacific, Mediterranean, as well as two tours to Afghanistan.

Recently, Dr. Wolfrom published a blog in the Canadian Medical Association Journal outlining tips for how physicians can cope in periods of stress and uncertainty. The blog was based on an email he distributed to his colleagues in Department of Family Medicine as they prepared for the arrival of COVID-19. The Gazette has received permission to republish these tips and adapt them for a broader audience.


Brent Wolfrom
Dr. Brent Wolfrom (Family Medicine)

My past experiences working with the Canadian Armed Forces in the South Pacific and the Mediterranean and in particular during my times deployed in Afghanistan, taught me a great deal about coping with crises, stress, confusion, guilt, loss and grief. They taught me how I myself cope with crises, be it an unexpected emergency requiring immediate action, or an expected and prolonged event involving complex systems and little control, much like what we are experiencing with COVID-19. As we head down this road, I find myself experiencing so many of the same emotions that I did during my deployments. I also find myself reflexively, and largely unconsciously, setting up supports, defenses and plans.

Based on these experiences and lessons, I wrote a message to my fellow physicians in my department with some of the advice I wish I had received 12-13 years ago. The following is an adaptation of these reflections that are applicable to the entire Queen’s and greater community.

  1. This event is unlike anything we have lived through before and we expect it to be drawn out, especially if social distancing does what we hope it will. It is likely that at some point we will transition from an acute to chronic crisis mentality. This can be a difficult transition because it can feel like defeat. It’s not. It’s us getting better at beating COVID-19.
  2. Plan now for how you will maintain your own physical and mental wellness and stick to your plan rigidly. Specifically, how you will deal with both physical and social isolation, confusion and anxiety.
  3. Find supports who will talk with you about non-COVID-19 related topics and stay in touch daily even if just by text or email.
  4. There will be some long and dark days ahead and people will all cope differently. A small word of encouragement or appreciation from you to a friend or colleague could make all the difference in helping someone get through the day.
  5. Support each other. If you have the time or capacity to help someone, just do it.
  6. Communicate with those who need information and minimize communication with those who don’t. Be deliberate about your email distributions and who you include on the “To” vs “CC” lines. Information overload is going to happen, and we need to be deliberate about protecting each other.
  7. Grief doesn’t equal failure. Bad outcomes don’t equal failure. Sadness doesn’t equal failure.
  8. There will be many changes and constraints over the coming weeks, including lack of access to sports, clubs and social events that you used to recharge you. Try to find a replacement for each joyful activity you lose.

All of us have a role to play in defeating this threat and the actions of each of us have the potential to change the trajectory of the ultimate outcome.  Best of luck and I look forward to seeing you on the other side of this.

A version of this blog was originally posted in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

Coronavirus tips: 7 lessons we can learn from hockey

Lessons learned from Canada's favourite game can offer some wisdom during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Queen's Gaels score against Ontario Tech
Canadians often see hockey as a metaphor for life.

Canadians often see hockey as a metaphor for life. Hockey’s cliché-littered locker room may offer some wisdom as we collectively deal with the COVID-19 pandemic in Canada. Let’s take a few of hockey’s time-worn aphorisms and apply them to our situation.

In Canada’s COVID-19 outbreak we are in the first period and it’s 2-0 for the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Team Canada faces an opponent that is big, strong and fast, and engenders fear. To ensure the game ends in favour of Team Canada, the first step is overcoming fear by building a sense of team.

1. There is no “I” in team

We will defeat COVID-19 as a team. As a cardiologist and head of medicine at Queen’s University, I am acutely aware of the importance of every member of the health-care team. But the team that’s required to defeat COVID-19 is even larger than that, and includes the whole community. It’s going to take all of us to get this done.

2. The best defence is a good offence

We are using social distancing and the cancellation of events, mass gatherings and even elective health-care services to ensure we don’t all get sick at the same time.

This flattening of the epidemic’s curve (see below) is designed to slow the spread of a virus, against which we have no natural immunity, so that the numbers of infected people will be distributed over a longer period.

This makes the care of those who become sick much more manageable. This is a good defensive strategy, and until we get an effective vaccine, it is the best defence we have.

Slow the spread: Flattening the curve distributes transmission over a longer period. (Esther Kim & Carl T. Bergstrom)CC BY

3. Move to where the puck will be

There’s a famous quote from Wayne Gretzky, of Edmonton Oilers fame, about not skating to where the puck is, but to where it is going to be. This advice can be applied to COVID-19. The question is not where we are now. You can see where the outbreak is today, and how it has progressed, using this online tool. The question is where we are going. What will the epidemic look like in the third period? How can we shape it to ensure we are victorious?

Skating to where the puck will be requires a dynamic partnership between health care and public health. Think of public health agencies as hockey scouts who track the epidemic and apply lessons learned from other provinces and countries. These scouting reports are helpful because they tell us the natural history of the pandemic and predict the spread of COVID-19, helping us deploy resources wisely.

We can take some comfort in knowing that we are prepared and that fewer than five per cent of cases will be life-threatening. For most (80 per cent) infected people, including almost all who are young and healthy, this will be a self-limited infection, managed by staying home and recovering with symptomatic care, good nutrition, fluids and over-the-counter medications.

In Ontario, we have planned for out-patient and in-patient screening for the virus. It has been a slow ramp up, however, due to a national shortage of the swabs required to acquire the specimens for the COVID-19 test.

I am encouraged by victories that have occurred internationally. After three very difficult months, things have stabilized in China; indeed cases peaked in February. Some countries, such as South Korea and Germany, are managing to avoid high mortality rates. We can learn from them.

4. Play your position

There is not a position on the team that trumps the others in terms of importance. Our victory will reflect the efforts of front-line nurses, doctors and trainees, and those in our lab and pharmacy, as well as support services, from housekeeping to our information technology team.

As a calm, well-informed member of the public you, too, are part of Team Canada. There will not be a three-star selection when we beat COVID-19; you will all be stars!

5. Thank your team members

A typical hockey interview given by the star player after a game almost always follows a standard, self-deprecating script: “I’d like to thank the coach. My goalie was amazing. The wingers were passing the puck tape to tape, and our fans were great!” It’s never self-congratulatory.

Listen to former Chicago Black Hawks star Marion Hossa give credit to everyone else — his teammates, and even the opposition.

In the hospital and beyond, a virtual pat on the back to a colleague or team member is always appreciated and goes a huge way to reassure them. Small acts of kindness to support each other are always appreciated. The bolstering effect of praise and acknowledgement is particularly felt as health-care workers struggle with daycare and school closures and worry about aging parents, all while caring for patients.

Here at Queen’s University, our medical students are offering a tangible example of support to our physicians during this difficult time. They are providing services such as child care, pickups, drop-offs, etc. You can probably envision how you can help a neighbour who must continue to work in an essential service field!

5. Keep your head up

In hockey, this admonition is a reminder to be aware of what is happening around you so you are not blindsided (run over by an opponent). In the COVID-19 pandemic we can keep our head up by paying attention to high quality, reliable information about your city, province and country.

There is lots of information that is dark and false on the internet, so follow the information feeds from trusted news outlets and reliable health agencies.

6. Envision success

Believing that you will succeed is a precondition for success, whether in hockey or medicine. In hockey you cannot let your mind go to that easily reached, dark place of defeat. When its 2-0 in the first period, all thoughts should be focused on turning the tide: stop further goals, score one goal, repeat as necessary!

In the case of COVID-19, we are doing much the same: slowing the spread through social distancing, hand hygiene and suspension of elective services, buttressed by ramping up COVID-19 testing in symptomatic people. I am envisioning success and a resumption of normal life!

7. Thank the fans

The impact of COVID-19 is being felt by students, families and people working in restaurants, retail outlets, utilities and more. We, your health-care professionals, stand with the people in our communities.

Doctors, we can “thank the fans” in this analogy, not only through the health care we provide but also by listening to and allaying their concerns, providing accurate information and providing role models for calm response.

Permit me a few final aphorisms.

  • Keep your stick on the ice (be prepared).
  • Skate to the paint (stay engaged with your friends and co-workers).
  • And finally, together we will put the puck in the net.The Conversation


Stephen Archer is a professor at Queen's University and Head of the Department of Medicine.

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

A team effort to help protect healthcare workers

Queen's students, medical residents, staff and faculty working with community partners to boost personal protection equipment supplies.

Queen's team for PPE
Students and faculty members from the School of Medicine are helping lead a drive to boost supplies of personal protection equipment (PPE) for local healthcare workers. From left: Megan Singh; Zuhaib Mir; Jeremy Babcock; Matthew Snow; and Cesia Quintero (Photo by Saif Elmaghraby)

A team of Queen’s and Kingston community partners are working together to help provide Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) for healthcare professionals working on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The team is a diverse group, bringing together Queen’s faculty members, medical students and medical residents, university students, and staff, as well as partners such as St. Lawrence College, Kingston Frontenac Public Library, and Kingston residents. All are donating their time and 3D printers to manufacture PPE, such as masks and face shields.

The equipment being manufactured is not intended to replace current masks and face shields but would act as a reserve in case supplies were to run out and there were no other options. The prototypes have been approved by KHSC for this purpose.

Hailey Hobbs, an assistant professor at Queen’s and critical care physician at Kingston Health Sciences Centre, initially put out a call on social media and quickly received a number of replies from people who were working on similar projects or ready to provide support.

The first to respond was Jeremy Babcock of the School of Medicine’s Clinical Simulation Centre who quickly got to work printing PPE prototypes from the designs Dr. Hobbs had found. He was then contacted by a group of students from the Queen’s School of Medicine – led by Cesia Quintero, Matt Snow and Megan Singh – who had the same idea and were ready to join the effort.

That was just the start.

“Honestly, I didn't really think that this would take off the way it has. I follow other critical care/intensive care doctors from around the world on Twitter, and with the COVID-19 outbreak I was checking it frequently to keep up to date on what was happening elsewhere in the world,” Dr. Hobbs says. “I found a tweet from Boston about a doc interested in making 3D printed PPE and I thought it was an interesting idea so I tweeted to the Queen’s community asking if there were any 3D printers on campus. I received several answers within 30 minutes and from there things have really snowballed.” 

The medical students and residents have been the feet on the ground helping get the word out about the project and picking up printers loaned out by groups such as the Kingston Frontenac Public Library. They are also leading the work to assemble the PPE. Volunteers to help with the assembly work are welcome.

“The medical school community, as well as the Kingston community at large, have come together in a very beautiful way,” Quintero says. “We started over the weekend with three printers and five people, and it’s quickly snowballed to over 50 printers from various institutions, including Queen’s University, St. Lawrence College, the Limestone District School Board, Kingston Frontenac Public Library, as well as many, many individuals across the province who own their own printers, and who have been donating their time and material. Currently there are more than 70 people involved in organizing, printing, assembling and collecting the products at this point, and these numbers are growing quickly.”

The project gained further momentum after connecting with SparQ Studios, a makerspace supported by Dunin-Deshpande Queen's Innovation Centre (DDQIC), that had five 3D printers and the know-how to manufacture the PPE. SparQ Studios has since become the production hub.

“I am proud with our community. Users of SparQ have volunteered their personal printers and the Alma Mater Society helped me reach more people,” says Connor Crowe, director of SparQ Studios.

There continues to be an open call for more 3D printers that can either be loaned or used at home. 

Overall, much has been accomplished in a short amount of time thanks to the dedication of all those involved.

“The response has been incredible – every day we receive emails from different groups interested in helping or learning from what we are doing to make PPE for their own hospitals,” says Dr. Hobbs. “It’s just been wonderful to know that so many different groups in the community are supportive and willing to help out in any way that they can. It really makes you realize how many great people there are in Kingston and how important it is to help each other in tough times.”

Anyone interested in loaning their 3D printers or printing PPE from home can email Megan Singh. Donations of filament and other supplies are also welcome.

Donations of surplus personal protective equipment and hand sanitizer to KGH and Kingston Community Clinics can be made via Anna Curry at PPEKingston@gmail.com.

For those looking to make a financial donation a GoFundMe page has been set up.

Stepping up to help

Students in the Faculty of Health Sciences are offering support for Kingston healthcare workers.

Photo of groceries being loaded into car.
Health Sciences students are offering free services to Kingston healthcare workers, including childcare and grocery shopping.

As healthcare workers take on the COVID-19 pandemic, they are also facing disruptions in their daily lives just like everyone else due to closed schools and daycares. Seeing this dilemma, students in the Queen’s Faculty of Health Sciences are banding together to help healthcare practitioners in Kingston by offering free services such as childcare, pet care, pickups and drop-offs, and grocery shopping.

“During public health crises like COVID-19, the demand on healthcare workers becomes extremely high. As aspiring health sciences professionals, we wanted to come together as a community to offer our support. Many of the healthcare workers in the Kingston Health Sciences Centre are also our teachers and mentors, and this felt like something we could do to give back to them after all they’ve given us,” says Shikha Patel, an organizer for the initiative and student in the Queen’s School of Medicine Class of 2022.

The initiative was started by members of the Aesculapian Society, the student government for the Queen’s School of Medicine, but quickly expanded to include students from across the Faculty of Health Sciences, which also includes the School of Nursing and the School of Rehabilitation Therapy. In the few days since announcing the effort, many students have come forward to volunteer and many healthcare workers have reached out to request assistance.

The students are being sure to practice social distancing while they help out. Each student volunteer will work with only one family, to minimize the chances of spreading the virus. And any student who has travelled internationally or been working in a hospital will self-isolate for 14 days before offering any services.

“This is a very new initiative, so we’re still figuring out some details, and our capacity may change as the weeks go on. But we’ll be working to make sure we can provide as much help as we are able to,” says Patel.

Students who are interested in helping can fill out the volunteer form circulated by the Aesculapian Society.

Learn more about the initiative or request support by visiting their online form. For updates, follow the Aesculapian Society on Twitter.

Why cancer care isn’t ‘one-size-fits-all’ from one country to another

Dr. Fabio Ynoe de Moraes

Six years ago, when Dr. Fabio Ynoe de Moraes was a resident in radiation oncology in São Paulo, he began to ask questions about cancer patients’ access to radiation in Brazil. How many LINAC systems (linear accelerator radiation machines) were there in the country? Where were they?

His mentor agreed that he could devote time to researching this question. He spent almost a year developing a map of every machine in Brazil, a country of more than 212 million people that’s geographically almost as large as the United States. And then he studied statistics about cancer rates.

“We calculated that only 45 to 47 per cent of those who would need radiation in their lifetime had access, and that 53 per cent of cancer patients die without access to basic treatment,” he says. 

When Dr. Ynoe de Moraes published his findings, they caught the attention of the country’s Ministry of Health, and the government fostered the development of a plan to increase capacity and access to radiation treatment. The government is now implementing, over five years, a program to purchase 100 machines so that 95 per cent of cancer patients will have access to radiotherapy. The plan includes training people to use and maintain the machines.

 “One of the biggest challenges is we do research but it rarely has an immediate impact on populations,” Dr. Ynoe de Moraes says. “I started to understand more about policy and got really excited. When you do policy and population research, you can improve care for thousands or more people.”

Dr. Ynoe de Moraes, who joined the Department of Oncology at Queen’s last year, now divides his time between clinical work and research/policy work and this year he is defending his PhD on Innovation in Health Care in Brazil. A former tennis pro, he applies the discipline and focus from that experience. Before heading to his clinical work at Queen’s, he spends his early morning hours doing policy work and global oncology research.

A major endeavour has been his international work completing a checklist for National Cancer Control Plans (NCCPs) with colleagues on the Union for International Cancer Control, Australia and World Health Organization. The biggest challenge in developing the list was “the amount of information and finding consensus among peers,” he says.

Dr. Ynoe de Moraes was a co-lead author of a policy review of this research that was published in Lancet Oncology last November.

The checklist, which consists of more than 100 core elements of a plan, builds on previous work by the World Health Organization. Most countries already have a national non-communicable disease plans, and a large proportion of those also have NCCPs. But these plans don’t always have common elements and most have not been implemented or even assessed for its quality.

Dr. Ynoe de Moraes and his colleagues discovered that a large number of previous plans did not specifically acknowledge childhood cancer – a major cause of mortality in lower income countries – nor the need for sustainable plans for machine maintenance. This new developed checklist takes both of those, and other factors, into account.

Similarly, strategies to actively encourage access to care for underserved populations had not been stressed. Dr. Ynoe de Moraes contributed to research that promoted this approach after establishing that a high proportion of men in Nigeria, a country with a high rate of prostate cancer mortality, believe they are immune to cancer.

“Some believed breast cancer was the only cancer possible,” he says. “Or that cancer only happens to women.”

The checklist is designed to allow countries to establish a baseline of existing cancer prevention, diagnosis, and treatment resources. They can then implement a plan that is based on the resources that they have, and measure progress towards reducing the burden of cancer and improving the quality of life of patients. Dr. Ynoe de Moraes hopes to see more and more countries taking this kind of action.

With regional leaders at the helm, he believes that we will see real progress towards improving cancer control, and a reduction in the gaps in cancer care – the very gaps that first caught his attention when he was completing his residency in Brazil.

This article was first published through the Dean On Campus blog.

The house call: 5 lessons I have learned as a doctor

The Conversation: From preventing emergency visits to understanding the context of a patient's health issues, house calls have value in a modern medical practice.

Stethoscope and blood pressure kit
The house call remains a fundamental medical service in 2020. (Unsplash / Marcelo Leal)

In the past year, I have done half a dozen house calls. Seeing a person in their home highlights both their unique humanity and the reality in which any proposed intervention must occur.

This sense of the whole person is diminished in a doctor’s office or the busy hospital environment, where gowns replace clothing and people become patients in numbered rooms. In a home, rooms have names, patients are people and the doctor is a guest — a very different dynamic.

The Conversation Canada logoI went on my first house call as a teenager in Hampton, N.B., when I asked Dr. Robb, my family physician, if I could accompany him. This experience was formative. I remember (in a disembodied way) a visit to an elderly patient in a modest, poorly lit, home. The smells and general disorder stuck.

I didn’t know about social determinants of health then, but I sensed that any medical intervention would be difficult. Dr. Robb didn’t overtly state the impact of poverty on this patient’s care; he led me to the stage and my eyes were opened. He knew well William Osler’s aphorism, “The good physician treats the disease. The great physician treats the patient who has the disease.”

I am a house call rookie. I run a busy department of medicine and don’t routinely do house calls. That said, I have a well-stocked doctor’s bag.

When I do house calls, it is usually when the person lives nearby, I know the family or, increasingly, because they lack a family physician. Those experiences have shown me the value of house calls in modern medical practice.

Here are five lessons I’ve learned from doing house calls:

1. House calls bring calm to chaos

A common reason for house calls is loss of consciousness, usually due to fainting — medically known as vasovagal syncope. While syncope is benign, the patient and their family don’t know this and their call for help is urgent.

One house call began with a frantic phone call — someone had collapsed! Another involved pounding on the door at night because a loved one was unresponsive. While syncope (fainting) is the number one cause of losing consciousness, other causes — heart attack, strokes and arrhythmias — are dangerous. A doctor must quickly separate the horses from the zebras.

I follow Samuel Shem’s dictum from his novel The House of God, which advises physicians, “when at a cardiac arrest, the first procedure is to take your own pulse.”

Bringing calm into the room allows therapy to begin. I ensure the patient is breathing, has a pulse and blood pressure and is lying on their back with legs elevated. Then I learn how the episode began: was it was preceded by a sense of impending collapse, abdominal pain, exposure to an emotional stress, bleeding or prolonged standing?

I then examine the person, who is likely sweaty and pale, with low blood pressure and a slow pulse. In a few minutes, blood pressure and heart rate increase and the person recovers. I advise them to rehydrate, remind them about fainting risk factors, instruct them on preventive measures and first aid (lie down, with feet higher than head).

Forty per cent of people have experienced fainting, and the house call is often the only intervention required.

2. Sometimes the problem is obvious

I once did a house call where the problem was leg swelling in a patient with known heart disease. The family’s question was whether this was heart failure.

As I entered the house I saw the patient in a chair, swollen feet dangling on the floor. Immobilized by a recent orthopedic injury, he had been sleeping there for two weeks!

The physical exam was normal with no signs of heart failure. It was obvious to me that the swelling was a result of gravity, a condition medically known as dependent edema. It was clearly caused by sleeping in a chair, and made worse by poor circulation.

I found a fix for the patient’s orthopedic problem, which allowed him to become mobile and sleep in his bed. The leg swelling disappeared within a week.

3. More than just a medical expert

In Kingston, Ont., where I practise, the South East Community Care Access Centre provides advice and services related to care in the home, and access to long-term care facilities.

One house call I made was for a family that was floundering, after the death of a spouse, to access these services for the surviving partner. I’m not an expert in accessing the centre; however, my role during that visit was to figure it out.

I called and the centre staff helpfully arranged an occupational therapy consultation and a home assessment. Services provided during a house call, though often not heroic, are nonetheless of great value. The two hours spent connecting the centre and the members of a far-flung family helped avoid a trip to the emergency department.

4. There is vulnerability in making a house call

I have done house calls to officially register the death of someone in the home, or to visit patients as they near the end of life. These visits are powerful and avoid futile hospital visits.

With no white coat to shield me and no computer to hide behind, it is raw to share with the patient an immutable reality. Tears shed and hugs offered can be simultaneously draining and rewarding.

This is the ultimate in patient-centred care. My colleagues in palliative care do this frequently.

5. House calls require family physicians

Dabblers like me aren’t going to revive house calls. Kingston is currently experiencing a shortage of family physicians.

More than six per cent of all our patients who have a specialist lack a general practitioner. These orphaned patients have used government websites like Health Care Connect, without timely results.

They have no family doctor because theirs retired or transitioned to part-time work, they are new to Kingston or they are deemed “difficult.” I can’t offer them the access a family doctor could; I’m just the best of their bad options.

The house call remains a fundamental medical service and is no less necessary in 2020 than it was when I accompanied Dr. Robb on that formative visit as a teenager in Hampton.The Conversation


Stephen Archer is a professor and head of the Department of Medicine at Queen's University.

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Addressing past discrimination to promote diversity in the future

Faculty of Health Sciences Dean Richard Reznick, Mala Joneja (Department of Medicine), and Queen’s staff and PhD candidate Edward Thomas (Cultural Studies) will receive the Queen’s University Human Rights Initiative Award for their work on the creation of the Commission on Black Medical Students.
For their work on the creation of the Commission on Black Medical Students, Faculty of Health Sciences Dean Richard Reznick, Mala Joneja (Department of Medicine), and Queen’s staff and PhD candidate Edward Thomas (Cultural Studies) will receive the Queen’s University Human Rights Initiative Award. (University Communications)

On March 3, Faculty of Health Sciences Dean Richard Reznick, Mala Joneja (Department of Medicine), and Queen’s staff and PhD candidate Edward Thomas (Cultural Studies) will receive the Queen’s University Human Rights Initiative Award for their work on the creation of the Commission on Black Medical Students. 

The annual Human Rights and Equity Office Tri-Awards honour individuals and group accomplishments in the areas of employment equity, accessibility and human rights. Find out more information about:
Steve Cutway Accessibility Award
Employment Equity Award
Human Rights Initiative Award
The awards reception is scheduled for March 3, 1-3 pm at Rose Innovation Room, Mitchell Hall
Registration: Human Rights and Equity Office, 2019 Tri-Awards Celebration

In 1918, Queen’s School of Medicine banned black students – a ban that went enforced until 1965. Last April, as a result of Edward Thomas’ research on the subject, Dean Reznick and former Queen’s Principal Daniel Woolf signed a public apology for this discriminatory policy. According to Thomas’ research, the ban was put in place to be in line with the discriminatory policies favoured at the time by the American Medical Association (AMA), the organization that ranked medical schools in North America. While the AMA had no control over the policies of Canadian medical schools, the Carnegie Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation consulted its rankings when they made decisions about whether or not to provide funding to medical schools.

Recognizing this was an area of need, Dean Reznick went on to form the Commission on Black Medical Students, made up of faculty, students, and staff from Queen’s, including Dr. Joneja and Edward Thomas, in order to address the historical injustice. The commission’s work included personal letters of apology to each of the families affected by the ban, changes made to the Undergraduate Medical Program curriculum, as well as an honorary degree presented to the family of Ethelbert Bartholomew, a student affected by the ban.

The Commission on Black Medical Students remains active under the leadership of Dr. Joneja as chair, and their work on this important initiative continues, including an upcoming symposium and an exhibition at the School of Medicine.

The Human Rights and Equity Office outlined reasons as to why this team was chosen for the award, stating that the work has made an outstanding contribution to the advancement of equality and human rights at the university, positively impacted the campus community through the introduction of new curriculum, and enhanced a sense of belonging for racialized students at Queen’s.

*     *     *

Tri-Award Selection Committee

  • Ann Deir, Indigenous Recruitment and Support Coordinator, Faculty of Law
  • Andrew Ashby, Accessibility Coordinator, Human Rights and Equity Office
  • Nilani Loganathan, Human Rights Advisor, Human Rights and Equity Office
  • Teri Shearer, Deputy Provost (Academic Operations and Inclusion)
  • Christine Coulter, Faculty, Smith School of Business
  • Penny Zhang, Society of Graduate and Professional Students


Remembering Black medical alumni

The following was first published through the Dean’s Blog.

If you have been following my blog for the last year, you may be aware that in 2018, it was brought to light that the Queen’s School of Medicine (then Faculty of Medicine) banned Black students in 1918. And while the ban had not been enforced since 1965, it remained on the university’s books as an official policy. So in October 2018, the Queen’s University Senate formally repealed the ban on Black medical students. But I knew that we needed to do more. In April 2019, then Principal Daniel Woolf and I issued a formal apology to those who had been affected by the ban.

John Wiseman Eve
John Wiseman Eve

Ethelbert Bartholomew was one of the Black students enrolled at the time of the ban, and he had completed nearly all of the necessary work to earn his MD. But because of this policy, he had to leave the school before graduating. Unable to secure a spot at another medical school, he supported himself and his family working as a sleeping car porter for the Canadian Pacific Railway.

Ethelbert’s son, Daniel Bartholomew, attended the public apology in April 2019. And while he was touched by this action, he requested the university take another symbolic step to address a historical injustice. And so, at the 2019 Spring Convocation, Queen’s presented Ethelbert D. J. Bartholomew with a posthumous MD, 101 years after he was pressured to withdraw from the Faculty of Medicine.

There were 15 Black students enrolled in the Queen’s Faculty of Medicine at the time of the ban with 14 physically present on campus. Half of these students left shortly after the ban was introduced. Despite the promise of continuing their education elsewhere, the university did not help them secure spots at other Canadian schools. Most of these students completed their medical education in the United Kingdom. The other half fought to continue their education at Queen’s, despite constant pressure from the faculty to transfer elsewhere. The last of these enrolled students graduated from Queen’s in 1922.

One of the most damaging consequences of the ban was that the Faculty of Medicine failed to acknowledge the accomplishments of those Black alumni who graduated during the early 20th century.

In honour of Black History Month, I want to share with you the names of four students; three are alumni who graduated from the Faculty of Medicine. These stories are but a small sample of the illustrious careers of Black alumni who received their MDs from Queen’s before the ban was enacted.

Dr. Courtney Clement Ligoure (Meds 1916)
Dr. Ligoure graduated from Queen’s before the ban and established his practice in Halifax, N.S. Unable to secure hospital privileges, he set up an independent surgery at his home in the city’s north end. He became the publisher of the Atlantic Advocate and used this position to advocate for the formation of the No. 2 Construction Battalion. In 1917 when the Halifax Explosion killed 2,000 and injured 9,000 people, he set off to tend the injured, using his home as a local dressing station where he successfully treated hundreds of injured persons over the next several days.

Dr. Hugh Gordon H. Cummins (Meds 1919)
Dr. Cummings rose to prominence as a co-founder of the Barbados Labour Party in partnership with Sir Grantley Adams. He became the second premier of Barbados and played an instrumental role in revoking the island’s predatory Located Labourers Act.

Dr. Curtis Theopolis Skeete (Tufts 1925) 
Dr. Skeete left Queen’s immediately after the 1918 ban. He would eventually graduate from Tufts University and establish his medical practice in Nassau County, N.Y. In the 1940s, he became the first president of a local chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, which played a pivotal role in confronting Long Island’s infamous regime of racial segregation. 

John Wiseman Eve (Meds 1917)
Wiseman Eve was born in Bermuda and attended the Bertley Institute, graduating with a Senior Cambridge Certificate. He joined Queen’s Faculty of Medicine in 1913, in the class of 1917. He was an excellent violinist and an enthusiastic member of his class. He was a member of the Freshman Year Executive. John died in a canoeing accident on Aug. 12, 1916, just one year before completing his MD.

There are many more stories that I have not included here, but I hope that in reading this blog, you have taken a moment to reflect on these four students who walked through our doors over 100 years ago. Nelson Mandela once said, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” And Drs. Ligoure, Cummins and Skeete did just that.


Jane Philpott named Dean of Faculty of Health Sciences at Queen's University

Accomplished physician, educator, and politician will assume the role in July 2020.

Jane Philpott
Dr. Philpott begins her term as Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences and Director of the School of Medicine on July 1, 2020.

Queen’s University announces that the Honourable Jane Philpott will serve as the university’s next Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences and Director of the School of Medicine. Dr. Philpott is an accomplished family physician, educator, and global health champion, and is best known for having held several senior cabinet positions with the Government of Canada. She will be the first woman to hold this position at Queen’s University.

“Queen’s University’s Faculty of Health Sciences is among the top interdisciplinary institutions of its kind in Canada, excelling in education, research, and care,” says Dr. Philpott. “I am honoured to accept the role as Dean and look forward to serving the Queen’s community in upholding and strengthening its reputation for excellence.”

The Queen’s Faculty of Health Sciences is internationally renowned for scholarship, research, social purpose, and sense of community. Dr. Philpott will lead a faculty that includes the School of Medicine, the School of Nursing, and the School of Rehabilitation Therapy. The faculty offers programs that are among the most in-demand in Canada thanks to an exceptional student learning experience, and new and innovative education models.

Elected as the Member of Parliament for Markham-Stouffville in 2015, she served in a number of prominent federal cabinet roles, including as Minister of Health, Minister of Indigenous Services, President of the Treasury Board, and Minister of Digital Government. She was a key leader of prominent policies and initiatives that advanced discovery research, mental health and home care resources, medical assistance in dying, First Nations rural infrastructure, Indigenous child welfare reforms, and refugee assistance. She currently serves as Special Adviser on Health for Nishnawbe Aski Nation, an organization representing 49 First Nation communities across Treaty 5 and Treaty 9 in northern Ontario.

“Dr. Philpott is an exceptional leader who has dedicated herself to improving the lives of her patients, her fellow Canadians, and the international community,” says Queen’s Principal and Vice-Chancellor Patrick Deane. “She is a powerful addition to our Faculty of Health Sciences and our university and I know will play a pivotal role in furthering our mission of making a positive impact on society through education and research. I want to extend my congratulations to Dr. Philpott and look forward to welcoming her to Queen’s.”

Prior to entering politics, Dr. Philpott spent over 30 years in family medicine and global health. After earning a Doctor of Medicine from the University of Western Ontario, she spent the first decade of her career in Niger, West Africa, where she provided clinical care to patients and training to community health workers.

Returning to Canada in 1998, Dr. Philpott spent the next 17 years practising family medicine in Stouffville, Ontario. In 2008, she joined the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Medicine and became Chief of Family Medicine at Markham Stouffville Hospital. She also founded a campaign that raised close to $5 million for people in Africa affected by HIV/AIDS, and helped to create the first family medicine training program in Ethiopia.

Dr. Philpott begins her term as Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences and Director of the School of Medicine on July 1, 2020. The appointment will see her also become CEO of the Southeastern Ontario Academic Medical Organization (SEAMO). Dr. Philpott will succeed Richard Reznick, who has served in the role since 2010.

“I want to express my deepest appreciation and gratitude to Dr. Reznick,” says Tom Harris, Interim Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic). “His contributions to Queen’s University made throughout his ten years as Dean, have lifted our institution’s reputation to new heights, to the benefit of our students, our colleagues, our community, and to health sciences in Canada.”

Members of the advisory selection committee:

This appointment follows a comprehensive search process co-chaired by Provost Harris and SEAMO Board Chair George Thomson. The advisory selection committee included representation from across the administration, faculty, and student body. Membership included:

  • Denis Bourguignon, Chief Financial and Administrative Officer, Faculty of Health Sciences
  • Barbara Crow, Dean, Faculty of Arts and Science
  • Sandra den Otter, Associate Vice-Principal (Research and International)
  • Anne Ellis, Professor, Department of Medicine and cross-appointment to the Department of Biomedical and Molecular Sciences
  • Dale Engen, Clinical Teachers’ Association of Queen’s President, Assistant Professor Anesthesiology and Perioperative Medicine
  • Marcia Finlayson, Vice-Dean (Health Sciences) and Director, Rehabilitation Therapy
  • Leslie Flynn, Vice-Dean, Education, Faculty of Health Sciences
  • Tom Harris (Co-Chair), Interim Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic)
  • Kanonhsyonne (Janice Hill), Associate Vice-Principal (Indigenous Initiatives and Reconciliation)
  • Jasmine Khan, MD/PhD Student
  • David Pichora, President and Chief Executive Officer, Kingston Health Sciences Centre
  • Stephanie Simpson, Associate Vice-Principal (Human Rights, Equity and Inclusion)
  • Steven Smith, Director of Research, Faculty of Health Sciences and Professor, Department of Biomedical and Molecular Sciences
  • Erna Snelgrove-Clarke, Vice-Dean (Health Sciences) and Director, School of Nursing Designate
  • Lori Stewart (Secretary), Executive Director, Office of the Provost and Vice Principal (Academic)
  • Cathy Szabo, President and Chief Executive Officer, Providence Care
  • Chandrakant Tayade, Associate Dean, Graduate and Postdoctoral Education, Faculty of Health Sciences
  • George Thomson (Co-Chair), Southeastern Ontario Academic Medical Organization, Board Chair
  • Alex Troiani, Nursing Science Society Senator

The Principal and Provost extend their gratitude to all the members of the advisory committee.


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